SAP Workflow Approvals Integration using Enterprise Portal
NetWeaver is the technology platform that is used to integrate Business Solutions that use both SAP and non-SAP systems. It is delivered as part of the SAP platform or we can use it to develop and build our own Enterprise software. It offers a complete Business Process Management solution.
NetWeaver is a framework that uses Enterprise scale Java and ABAP applications which can be used to integrate the
- ‘People’ by Collaboration and usage of the Enterprise Portal, information by way of Business Intelligence and
Knowledge Management ,
- Underlying business processes by integration and Business Process Management.
I would like to take up present a Business Process Case Study which uses Workflow for approval of various Purchase Orders sent to vendors and Invoices received from Vendors.
In any company, we can have Workflow approvals coming from various different sources. They could be external systems, multiple SAP instances and even two different companies which run on different systems. Rather than the approvers logging into different systems to approve this documents, we can use the Net weaver Enterprise Portal where the users can login and approve. SAP NetWeaver Portal is one of the building blocks in the SAP Netweaver architecture. The web based portal offers a single point of access to information, enterprise applications, and services both inside and outside an organization.
The biggest advantage of this Netweaver Enterprise Portal is that it helps the users to ‘manage’ their work. They can have various different inboxes or tabs which will help them to categorize the different documents for approvals from different systems or SAP instances.
SAP delivers several out-of-box business applications based on the Netweaver portal. A popular application, the Universal Worklist (UWL), is described here. As the name implies, the UWL is a universal worklist or inbox to manage all sorts of work items. Instead of having multiple system inboxes and approval approaches (for e.g. Outlook for business tasks, SAP ERP for vendor invoices, CRM for quotes, SRM for purchase requisitions/orders and SCM for demand plan), the UWL offers a “single” consistent user interface thus relieving the approver from having to sign onto multiple systems (inboxes). With some basic configuration, a visually appealing UWL web page can be configured that connects automatically to the backend SAP systems of the customer like SAP ERP, SRM, CRM and SCM. The customer can also customize the look-and-feel of the Enterprise Portal for ‘Application Specific Views’ which provide information about tasks on hand (the WF awaiting approval) as well as the history of approved tasks (WF’s already executed). Once these WF items are ‘Approved’ or ‘Rejected’ as the case maybe, it will trigger the necessary action in the originating system or instance.
The case study is about a company ABC running on SAP and has now acquired another company XYZ which runs on another SAP instance. The company ABC already has PO approvals configured and uses SAP WF for this. They also have Vendor Invoice Management implemented which also routes Vendor Invoices for approval. The newly acquired company running on another SAP instance also generates similar documents based on their configuration, but most approvers now reside in Company ABC. The Portal is used to help integrate these WFs from different systems. The backend integration helps determine the origination for each WF work item and sends the information for necessary updates.